20 May, 2018

Loot of the Week 21 May 2018



The last "loot of the week" post was in June 2017, and that had been how long I was pretty much transiting between accommodations. Now safely nested in my new permanent residence, I'm delighted to bring back the "loot of the week" series.

This time, we have two signed Pulitzers, two Charles Fraziers, both signed and one a National Book Award ("NBA") winner, the latest National Book Critics Circle Award  ("NBCCA") winner, and a new publication. In addition, there is the arrival of Powell's latest Indiespensable.

The gem of the loot has to be N. Scott Momaday's "House Made of Dawn", published exactly 50 years ago in 1968 by Harper and Row that started the Native American Renaissance, and that won the Pulitzer in 1969. It was the jury's first choice for its "eloquence and intensity  of feeling, its freshness of vision and subject, its immediacy of theme...". Although the Pulitzer was, apparently, not exactly delighted with this recommendation, it went along, awarding "House Made of Dawn" the 1969 Pulitzer over second and third choices, Louis Auchincloss' "A World of Profit" and John O'Hara's "And Other Stories".

Then there are the signed first editions of Elizabeth Egan's "A Visit From the Goon Squad" and Charles' Frazier's "Cold Mountain". I have unsigned first editions of both titles, so these are nice additions. "Cold Mountain" was a 1997 publication by Atlantic Monthly Press that won the NBA the same year, beating DeLillo's "Underworld", Diane Johnson's "Le Divorce", Ward Just's "Echo House" and "Cynthia Ozick's "The Puttermesser Papers". Frazier has a nice book, Varina, out this year, and I secured a signed copy.

Elizabeth Egan's "A Visit From the Goon Squad", a 2010 Knopf publication, clinched 2011's Pulitzer over Jonathan Dee's "The Privileges" and Chang-Rae Lee's "The Surrendered". It also won 2010's NBCCA against Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom", David Grossman's "To the End of the Land", Damion Searls' translation of Hans Keilson's "Comedy in a Minor Key", and Paul Murray's "Skippy Dies".

Joan Silber's "Improvement" is the latest NBCCA winner, beating formidable finalists like Mohsin Hamid's "Exit West", Alice McDermott's "The Ninth Hour", Arundhati Roy's "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness", and 2017 NBA winner, Jesmyn Ward's "Sing, Unburied, Sing". I was lucky to secured a signed first edition.

Finally there are two new work that I'm excited about. First, there is Tayari Jones' new novel, "An American Marriage". Then there is Rachel Kushner's "The Mars Room" - an Indiespensable selection. What's really nice about this Indiepensable selection is that it came with two other quality books: a nonfiction of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Conversations on Writing" and a fiction paperback of Kushner's previous novel, "The Flame Throwers", an acclaimed 2013 NBA finalist (James McBride "The Good Lord Bird" won) that I have been wanting to read.

 Indiespensable Volume 73: Rachel Kushner's "The Mars Room", with two other complimentary books. The two books in the background, Joshua Ferris' "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" and Ann Patchett's "Commonwealth" were my recent reads

The bed is lovely, soft and safe, but I have books to read, and pages to go before I sleep, and pages to go before I sleep

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